The #Marvel Studios panel at Comic Con spoiled fans with a wealth of info about their upcoming projects, including new details about Thor: Ragnarok, a new Doctor Strange trailer and more info about Kurt Russell's character in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. However, greedy as we are, there was still so much left that we were dying to know. For example, just who is #Zendaya playing in Spider-Man: Homecoming? The panel may have left us wondering, but right after in an exclusive interview, EW learned who four of the cast members will be playing...
Zendaya is Michelle Gonzalez
Fans reacted with shock when teen sensation Zendaya was cast for Spider-Man: Homecoming, and her character identity has been a closely guarded secret. Rumors have associated her with a character named 'Michelle', which has puzzled fans, since there's only one 'Michelle' who's been connected with #SpiderMan. Now the first name 'Michelle' is official, it looks as though the writers of Spider-Man: Homecoming have gotten creative!
In the comics, Michelle Gonzalez met Spider-Man when both were adults. She's a criminal defence lawyer with a temper, and she actually wound up Peter Parker's roommate. Things became pretty complicated, though, when the two had a drunken one-night-stand. In a weird twist, the two did start dating - in a fashion. In actual fact, Peter was being impersonated by the Chameleon, who took advantage of the opportunity to mess Peter's life up a little bit more.
I think we can safely say the relationship between Michelle and Tom Holland's Peter Parker will be very different. What may stay the same, though, is Michelle becoming involved in Spider-Man's life when her police officer brother was arrested for trying to frame Spider-Man as a criminal. It's possible Michelle will be playing a Gwen-type role, as a love interest with ties to the police force.
Tony Revolori is Flash Thompson
Now this is a race-swap! In the comics, Flash Thompson is a Caucasian teenager who made Peter Parker's life Hell in high school. He's portrayed as your stereotype high school jerk, a top athlete in American football, and always getting the girl he wants (much to Peter's frustration). He's also always been the ultimate bully.
Ironically, after high school the two became firm friends. Flash went on to launch a military career, which led to his being crippled. Most recently, the US Government chose Flash as "Agent #Venom" - he became the current bearer of the Venom symbiote, working as a skilled black ops agent.
Although Tony Revolori is a fascinating twist on Flash, we know that the bullying will continue. Revolori told EW:
"I’m [Peter Parker’s] bully and I don’t know how cool he is, but when we call cut, I’m just like, ‘Ah! You’re so cool!’"
It sounds as though some parts of Flash Thompson's character are being played traditionally...
This won't be the first time we've seen Flash Thompson on the big screen, as he appeared as a minor antagonist in both the original Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man movies. If you need a little refresher, check out the clip below!
Jacob Batalon is Ned Leeds
Ned Leeds is another character whose inclusion is a little surprising, as he met Peter through the Daily Bugle. One of the Bugle's best, Ned competed with Peter Parker for the attentions of a girl named Betty Brant. When Peter realized Betty wouldn't be able to handle his secret identity as Spider-Man, he backed off (and persuaded her that her believing he was Spider-Man was a delusion, in one of the nastiest stunts he ever pulled). Ned and Betty eventually married, although their marriage was often strained.
Tragically, Ned was drawn into the New York underworld, and brainwashed by the Hobgoblin. With his marriage falling apart and his friendships failing, Ned even took up the identity of the Hobgoblin on occasion. This led to his assassination.
It sounds as though Ned is being transformed utterly, becoming a member of Peter Parker's high school group. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out...
Laura Harrier is Liz Allan
One of the most long-running Spider-Man characters, Liz Allan was one in a long list of love interests for teenage Peter Parker. Although she was mostly forgotten, Gerry Conway brought her back as the cousin of the Molten Man, and she soon became a major character. Liz ultimately married Peter Parker's best friend, Harry Osborn, and the two had a son, Normie. When Harry donned his father's Green Goblin mask, Liz's world fell apart.
She's still an important character, currently working as CEO of Alchemax, a major technology firm that, in one timeline, literally rules the world. Liz has been conspiring with a disguised Norman Osborn to help Alchemax grow, and has been heavily involved in the current Spider-Man 2099 comics.
If we assume that Laura Harrier's Liz Allen will be based on the original version, she'll have a schoolgirl crush on Peter - one that's largely unrequited, as he only has eyes for another girl (Zendaya's Michelle Gonzalez?). Meanwhile, in another inversion of the 'whitewashing' controversies striking Doctor Strange, Liz's character has also been race-swapped.
So there you have it! Some of the secrets of Spider-Man: Homecoming have finally been blown out into the open - along with Tom Holland's Spider-Man they like to refer to themselves as the 'Breakfast Club', but personally I think they're the Scoobies to Spidey's Buffy...
Are you excited to hear these new details? Let me know in the comments!